• Published 13th Oct 2011
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The Quiet Place - Aynine

Twilight fights against sinister manipulations, struggling to overcome a deep-seated darkness within. As she battles to preserve everything she cares about, she will sacrifice anything necessary to succeed. But the price of victory may be herself.

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Prologue: A Devil's Game

The Quiet Place

By: Aynine

[Disclaimer: I own nothing of the MLP franchise and all rights are reserved by Hasbro and the respective parties involved.]

Prologue: A Devil's Game

Blood and ash rained down over dirt tinted by the glow of a rapidly setting sun. A scarlet alicorn with a misty orange mane and a fierce gaze stood peering at a small group of unicorns quaking in fear, a dark grin spreading across his face. When the various debris of a short, brutal battle, more akin to a slaughter, had finally cascaded to the ground, the alicorn slowly began the short walk towards the survivors, his gait proud and confident.

"None of you can deny me my blood right. No matter how much you loathe me, I am royalty, and I will not tolerate your disobedience." The alicorn frowned as he reached the small party that remained of the rebelling forces. He loomed over them as they sank into the ground, one wetting himself in fear of the alicorn's sheer proximity. The survirors' fear only urged him to laugh, but he stifled it down to a mocking chuckle. "I have no time for you whelps. I am feeling generous today, and as such I shall allow you to live under one condition..." He turned around and took in a deep breath. "That I will never see your miserable faces again," he said in a heavy tone.

Before he could finish his words, the cowering ponies took off with their newly found freedom, driven by the overwhelming fear to cling to their lives. They ran until their chests ached with pain, but none ever daring to look back. The alicorn tilted his head up to the now-twilight sky and extended his wings. He leaped high into the air and paused to hover for a moment, closing his eyes and swaying his forelegs out. The sun dipped below the horizon as the moon rose behind him, a monolith of solemn beauty that cast the world in majestic shades of dark blue. The night brought a rolling breeze to sweep the lingering heat from the land, and he frowned as the chill pierced his coat. He landed with a soft pat onto the dirt, enjoying his moment of grace and absolute serenity.

"How noble of you to let those still loyal to the true crown flee with their lives. I did not think you could bear any compassion, let alone the thought at all."

The alicorn turned around and found a robed earth pony standing and observing him, his hood billowing slightly over his eyes and the darkness of the night masking his face. "Fear breeding respect is superior to that of compassion. I care not for their false loyalties. They need only know they forfeit their lives should they commit treason against my crown."

"I see no crown upon your head." The earth pony held a hoof out to his side. In a small flash of white, a beautiful and brilliant white staff appeared in his grasp, gleaming ominously in the moonlight. "I cannot allow her world to crumble under your rule."

"Staves are merely conduits--amplifiers--for magic. What could one without the capability of magic use it for?" The alicorn eyed the earth pony incredulously. His mane began to churn in the air and the edges ignited into a small, living blaze. He continued to observe, careful of how much he spoke.

The earth pony snorted. "One as naive as you could not possibly understand the meaning of magic. It is limitless; It is everywhere; It exists within all. Killing our beloved goddess only proves it..." He let go of the staff and it floated above his head, two streams of power flowing into the spire from the base.

"You're a non-magical earth pony, how can you possibly control magic?" spat the alicorn, stepping back into a cautious stance.

"I'll finish what she would not. Your execution is at hoof, ignoble prince."

The earth pony clapped his forehooves together and a sphere of chaotic, blue energy formed around him. Bolts of electricity crackled and surged across its surface while it expanded around him, and then the scarlet alicorn. The staff dropped down and planted itself into the ground and began shining with the same dark blue tint as lightning crawled up and down the shaft, sparking and spitting outward. When the sphere reached its maximum size, it began to slowly shrink down, the ground incinerating to blackened dirt in its destructive wake.

"What is this!?" The alicorn reached a hoof out to the edge of the sphere. When it receded past the edge of his hoof he yelped in pain and pulled it back. He twisted his hoof before his eyes, the flesh and coat seared and blistered. "Thorn magic,"--he set his hoof lightly on the ground--"Do you really believe that this will kill me?" Despite his heavy tone, his voice only carried an irritated tone.

The earth pony straightened his posture and took the staff into his grasp. Energy coursed through it, and he turned around and pressed the spire to the edge of the sphere. More power was siphoned from him and into the deadly thorn magic.

"Answer me, damn it!" fumed the alicorn. His horn ignited and a flame erupted inside of the sphere. Pouring substantial power into it, he blasted it towards the earth pony.

Sensing the incoming danger, the earth pony placed a hoof in its direction without looking and a barrier formed. The fires failed to penetrate it and the alicorn growled as his anger began to rise. "Speak your peace, king, for tonight is the last night you shall draw breath with the free," growled the earth pony.

"Your insolence shall be your death, you oblivious fool!"

The alicorn slammed his forehooves onto the ground, two streams of magma erupted forth before him and tided towards his foe. The staff appeared between them and flashed blue, freezing the magma before it could cross the halfway point, finally crumbling as brittle pieces of icy tephra after thawing. Running out of space, the two ponies continued inching closer and closer to each other, the impending doom constricting what freedom in the prison they now shared.

As time ticked away, they continued to trade numerous, lesser spell casts, but the alicorn failed to show any sign of ending the fight quickly. The earth pony suffered several grievous wounds with the alicorn only showing exhaustion from his magic usage and the pain from his injured hoof. Soon the sphere shrank to the size of a small room, and the time before it became too small was soon to run out, both ponies forced to stand only a few yards apart.

"You know I will survive this. You merely delay the inevitable," spat the alicorn with hidden desperation.

"Your trembling cannot lie," taunted the earth pony, his eyes trailing down to his foe's injured hoof. It continued to rest lightly on the ground without his weight on it.

The alicorn's expression shifted to scorn and he charged in a desperate attempt to throw his foe into the sphere's edge first. The earth pony caught him and dug his hind hooves into the ground as they pummeled one another. Locked in physical combat, the alicorn attempted to mix magic with his blows, but every telekinetic grasp on the earth pony's body he attempted was quickly fought off by his odd but extraordinarily powerful magic. As the sphere shrank down around them, the staff appeared between them.

"May your prison be your penance," whispered the earth pony as they paused.

The staff rotated ninety degrees and impaled the alicorn in the stomach. He roared as the earth pony kicked him out of the sphere. Energy ripped and shredded his form, the pain disrupting any control over his body and magic. You'll never stop me! I wouldn't let her, and I won't let you!

The earth pony, nearing his own sealed fate, clapped his hooves together. The staff returned before him, covered in a layer of blood and its victim missing. Pressing a hoof to the spire, he closed his eyes, a few tears running down his cheek. In a brilliant flash of white, his form distorted and blurred, then flowed into the staff. I'm sorry.

Outside of the sphere a crowd of ponies had gathered in the distance to witness the end of the alicorn, prepared to hail the hero who would stand against him. When the spell shrank down, it exploded in a fury of unstable energy that burned a dark crater into the earth. The ponies shielded their eyes and cried out as the light drove back the darkness for a moment, then blinked fervently as they were light night blind. Ground zero had blackened to an unrecognizable blandness, but a single object remained untouched in the aftermath.

A young, white filly alicorn with a pink mane dashed into the crater to retrieve what appeared to be a staff. "No, don't!" cried another squeaky voice from outside behind her.

Ignoring the voice, the white filly bent down to investigate what had remained of the short battle. Lying in the blackened, steaming dirt was a white, shining staff with a prismatic gem quietly floating in the open grasp of the spire. She leaned in close and gazed into the gem, entranced by its surreal depth. "It's so beautiful..." she murmured in awe, her jaw hanging open.

Author's Note:

12/3/13 -- May glance at this soon to adjust some things. I'm also OCD about em dashes now.

(For new readers: Welcome to my story! I hope you continue reading on. ^_^)

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